You know the type- busy, self-centered, uncaring, etc, etc. Now imagine what they must be like in The World’s Most Expensive City in 2009 (it’s now dropped to #3). Now, make the source of wealth minerals (oil and diamonds, etc) that have been violently fought over for the last 30 odd years… What you end up with isn’t exactly pretty. If you just drove through Luanda, that might be all you see of it- just like driving through New York or London.
I won’t say luckily (considering the circumstances), but perhaps happily I couldn’t just ride through. Arriving back at The Yacht Club (they let riders camp between the dry-docked boats), I set about searching for bike help. I got the e-mail address of someone from another rider I’d met in Namibia, another from someone on Horizons, and then a website for a Luanda riders club. I duly sent out my e-mails and then started to troll the streets for likely bikes that I could place notes on in hopes of getting help. The next morning, two riders showed up at the club to check on me. Before I knew it, one had pulled his battery and helped me mount it in my bike so I could ride to the local KTM dealer. There I left the bike while another rider showed up to give me a lift back to the club. As I was dropped off they confirmed that I had all I needed before telling what time I’d be taken out to dinner to meet some more riders. Whew!
It wasn’t over. Once I was back at The Club, I met a number of members- all of whom offered their help, support, and bar tabs for my use. It was almost too much! I needed to get out on my own and see the real city. When I did, it didn’t change- everyone was universally friendly. Sure my ‘homeless Jesus’ look probably helped- Lets see that happen in the west!- but, in reality I think the people were generally just interested in the idea of tourists and didn’t feel the same threat from them as those coming to work and/or exploit their resources.
I might have called this home:
But, I was living like a king!
Dinner out with the other riders was a blast…
And even Bad Penny had some company…
So, I was back on the road, but not without mixed feelings. Angola kept on showing itself as a country I wanted to explore more, to experience more, and to understand more… Best first date ever!